Chamber hears update on G-SACH
SHAMOKIN - Facing challenges from health care reform and sequestration, Geisinger-Shamokin Area Community Hospital (G-SACH) has nonetheless thrived and improved in the 14 months since the hospitals merged, two administrators said Tuesday.
G-SACH Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Thomas Harlow and Geisinger CAO Thomas Sokola updated about 20 members of the Brush Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce during their monthly membership luncheon Tuesday, sponsored by G-SACH, at Harry's Grill.
Harlow and Sokola said Geisinger has invested more than $10 million in capital improvements at G-SACH since merging on Jan. 1, 2012, including a new energy-efficient boiler system and wiring the hospital for telemedicine consultations.
"It is a great convenience for our doctors to be able to see patients here from their offices in Danville," Sokola said. "The cameras on these units are so detailed that doctors in their office are able to count the hairs on an eyebrow."
New improvements coming to G-SACH include expansion of the Ressler Center to add a new ophthalmology suite, a project already under way. It will allow Dr. William LeMasters's Shamokin clinic to move to the campus and the addition of a retina and glaucoma specialist.
Harlow also discussed a new "open-dose system" for administering medicine. Workers scan a bar code on a patient's wristband or use a thumbprint to trigger opening of a drawer of medication and dispensing of the correct dosage.
Harlow and Sokola distributed abridged copies of a community health needs assessment completed last year that showed the top three needs in the G-SACH community as improving access to health care for under/uninsured residents, improving healthy behavior and community development, specifically transportation.
"We have been meeting about these needs and should have an action plan to address them in the near future," Harlow said.
All these changes have developed despite the chance that G-SACH will lose as much as $5.5 million in funding due to federal budget cuts related to sequestration and possible Medicare/Medicaid cuts.
"We are facing challenges, but through the dedication of our staff, physicians and leadership, G-SACH is meeting all of our key goals in caring for the area," Harlow said.
- Chamber Director Sandy Winhofer reminded members about Bucknell University's Small Business Development Center (SBDC) hosting a special First Step Pre-Business Workshop at the chamber office from 9 to 11 a.m. Wednesday, April 3. The workshop is for aspiring entrepreneurs to begin the process of successful business ownership, including evaluating business ideas, developing a business plan and exploring financial options.
Thanks to a sponsorship donation by First Columbia Bank and Trust, the workshop is free, but registration is required. Call SBDC at 577-1249, e-mail SBDC@bucknell.edu or visit www.bucknell.edu/scrpit/sbdc/seminars.asp.
- April 3 will also be the date of the chamber's annual job fair to be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Masser's Banquet Hall, Paxinos. Nineteen vendors have already signed up. Participants should come ready to fill out applications and be interviewed.
- The new chamber directory is available at the chamber office and various business locations.
- Sponsors and golfers are needed for the chamber's golf tournament, Friday, May 3, at Knoebels Three Ponds, Elysburg. Call Steve Minker at 259-2177 for more information.
The chamber's next luncheon will be Tuesday, April 16, the annual staff recognition luncheon, held at Brewser's SportsGrille.